CNIGA Calls for Legislative Audit and Investigation into the Management of the Indian Gaming Revenue Shairing Trust Fund

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Jensen
(916) 448-8706

CNIGA Calls for Legislative Audit and Investigation into the Management of the Indian Gaming Revenue Shairing Trust Fund

October 22, 2002

Sacramento, CA—The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is demanding a legislative audit of the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund that was established by the tribal-state compacts for gaming tribes to share revenues with non-gaming tribes and those with very limited gaming. The California Gambling Control Commission, which has fiduciary responsibility for dispersing monies from the Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Trust Fund account, said in August it would begin mailing out checks for approximately $188,000 to each of the 75 eligible tribes. None of the tribes have received their checks. “There is no acceptable excuse for the delay,” said Jacob Coin, executive director of CNIGA, which represents most of the state’s tribes involved in government gaming. “CNIGA is calling for the state Legislature to exercise its oversight responsibilities and check the work of the commission.” CNIGA also is calling for an investigation into the commission’s management of the fund. Not only have there been needless delays in payments, there is evidence in the commission’s own documents that tribes not eligible to receive revenue sharing money are getting distribution checks from the fund. At best, this is a reflection of the commission’s inability to manage the fund and compile timely and accurate accounting reports for the fund. “This issue not only has to do with delays in disbursements but the manner in which they are being disbursed,” said CNIGA Chair Brenda Soulliere. “This has to do with accountability of a state administrative body that has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the intended beneficiaries of the fund.” The association at a recent meeting in Redding voted unanimously to seek the investigation and legislative audit of the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund account. More than $57 million has been paid into the account for distribution to non-gaming tribes and those with very limited gaming. The revenues are generated through licenses fees and quarterly payments. Commencing Oct. 31, tribes with more than 200 slot machines prior to Sept. 1, 1999 will also pay from 7 percent to 13 percent of their net win to the Special Distribution Fund. The purpose of the fund, created by the legislature pursuant to Section 5.0 of the tribal-state compacts, is to finance problem gambling prevention programs; to reimburse local governments for off-reservation impacts by tribal gaming operations; and to cover any shortfalls in the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund. Those funds have been estimated to reach from $40 to $140 million per year. To date, California tribes have been provided with no direction from the legislature regarding who is to manage the fund. “Before we get into the same problem we are having with the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund, I think the legislature needs to consider whether this commission should be responsible for that fund as well,” Soulliere said.

#   #   #